• Inspired by New York homeless people’s Street News, The Big Issue was founded in 1991 (John Bird and Gordon Roddick) in reaction against UK's growing numbers of homeless people, and is now the world’s most widely circulated street newspaper.  The Body Shop offered $50,000 as start-up capital; initially published monthly, the magazine went weekly in June 1993 ; it has regional  editions now (Northern England, England's South West Region,  Scotland, Wales, and overseas : Australia, Japan, Namibia etc.). 

    Since 1995, The Big Issue  (from the phrase “Now, what’s the big issue ?”, in French “c’est quoi le problème?”) has also been known as a foundation offering support to vendors (housing, health, personal finance and addiction). 

    In 2001, the magazine sold nearly 300,000 copies, then declined from 167,000 to less than 125,000. between 2007 and 2011. Vendors have to prove they are homeless and jobless, and have to buy each copy (£1.25 ; it is then sold £ 2.50).

    Daily Post : London vendors

    There has been controversy over the new format (January 2012; the magazine focused more on political journalism), the new price, the strong proportion of Romani vendors (40 %), its part in enabling migrants to access the benefit-system in this way. Prime Minister David Cameron spoke in defence of the Foundation. New columnists were added, including the Premier League footballer Joey Barton, Rachel Johnson and Samira Ahmed.

    See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Issue

    and : http://www.bigissuenorth.com/

    especially the music pages : http://www.bigissuenorth.com/2015/10/music-qa-editors/14827

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  •  A list of "Non-Conclusive Verbs" in English : 

    These are the most common of the verbs that are not found in the continuous forms (present, or past or perfect):


    -Non-voluntary perception : feel, hear,  see, smell, sound, taste,


    -Mental Process : believe, consider (that), expect, forget, know, realize,  remember, think (that), understand, wonder,


    -Desires : desire, need,  want, wish,


    -Likes and Dislikes : dislike, enjoy, envy, hate, like, love, prefer


    -Possession : belong to, have, own, possess,


    -Other verbs : contain, keep, matter, mean,


    -Appearance : appear, feel like, look like, remind of, resemble, seem, sound like,



    Note that they are not found in the continuous form unless they change meaning, like

    -if "see" means "meet" you can say : "I'm seeing Kate at lunchtime" ;

    -when "taste" means that you actively try to describe the taste of sthg, "to be tasting" is possible (voluntary perception);

    -or if you try to find sthg, you may say "to be looking for", cf. "look after" etc.

    -If you consider sthg, you reflect about it, you say "I'm thinking";

    -If you wait for sthg, it is possible to say "we're expecting our bus", or "my aunt is expecting a baby".

    Probably the best example is HAVE : "I'm having a bath" (je prends un bain) / "I have a bath" (j'ai une baignoire); "he's having lunch, Kit's having a sandwich, they're having fun" / "Bob has a Rolls-Royce", or "he doesn't have time to explain".

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  • Be careful ! The meaning of “public schools” in the US is different from the UK. Public School in America refers to schools run by a governmental authority. They can be state-run or funded by local school districts. Schools are usually financed by taxpayers, so tuition is free; yet parents often have to pay for optional programs (sports, music, etc). In public schools there is no religious instruction.

    Private School” means the establishment is run by private entities, independent from federal or state government (like UK's …”public” schools !). These schools may reject the students that are below-average, may offer religious instruction, and do charge tuition. “Parochial schools” are run by churches or religious orders.

    Preschool” is generally provided by churches, daycares (Fr.: crèches), or cooperatives. Just before school, children go to Kindergarten, a class for 5-year-olds. “First grade” refers to the first year of schooling ; it starts in September following the child's sixth birthday. Grades 2 to 12 follow for the next eleven years. The grade levels K-12 are obtained in primary school (or elementary school, usually K-5 or K-6,), middle school (6-8, or junior high : 7-9), and high school (9-12 or 10-12).

    Students learn “required” subjects (English, Maths, Social studies, Physical Education, Sciences, Health). Among the “electives” you may find Chinese, Jazz band, Weight training (Fr.: haltérophilie), Leadership, Environmental science, Yearbook, Law enforcement, Culinary arts, Business ownership and so many others. For some electives, the first year is open to everyone, but the second is subject to teacher’s approval. These special classes may have an influence on your admission to college.


    Sources : 1. http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?AmericanSchoolSystem

    2. http://www.fremont.k12.ca.us/cms/lib04/CA01000848/Centricity/Domain/30/American%20High%20School%20Electives.pdf

    3. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/your-high-school-record/how-to-choose-high-school-electives



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  • ... has just died (June 26, 2015): he was 93 but he will remain as the typically English dandy.

    He was world famous as John Steed, Her Majesty’s intelligence agent in the serial “The Avengers” (French : “Chapeau melon et bottes de cuir”)

    Why English? – because of his bowler hat and sharp suit, because of his character’s temper (a real smart, cool gentleman, with his British composure (Fr.: flegme britannique), and a good sense of humour, also a lover of beautiful ladies, including Emma Peel (actress Diana Rigg), Tara King (played by Linda Thorson); Macnee was pre-deceased by his three wives (the actress Katherine Woodville was the second). 

    Patrick Macnee as Steed in The Avengers, 1968. Photograph: StudioCanal/Rex Shutterstock


    A lot of things you wouldn’t expect from Patrick Macnee : 

    -He first went to Eton College before joining a London drama school.

    -He served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War. “Macnee caught bronchitis just before D-Day; while he was recuperating in hospital, his boat and crew were lost in action” (Wikipedia).

    -his character never used a gun, but was skilful with an umbrella

    -he featured in an Oasis music video for their 1996 song “Don't Look Back In Anger”, appearing as the band's driver.

    -He was in the 1985 James Bond film “A View To A Kill” with Roger Moore, acting as Bond's ally, the horse trainer Sir Godfrey Tibbett.

    -He is one of a very small number of actors to have portrayed both Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on screen.

    -He openly criticized the private sale, purchase and use of guns

    -He died in California, where he’d been living for over 40 years (he became a US citizen in 1959).


    A website : http://www.patrickmacnee.com

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  •  His name was Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (1915–1990), a famous American computer scientist, one of the most important figures in computing history.

    He was one of the first to foresee modern-style interactive computing and remains an Internet pioneer with an early vision of a worldwide computer network long before it was built. He was successful in funding research, initiating today's graphical user interface, and creating the ARPANET, later to become the Internet.

    Waldrop Mitchell, his biographer, says: “He has been called "computing's Johnny Appleseed", for planting the seeds of computing in the digital age; Robert Taylor, founder of Xerox PARC's Computer Science Laboratory […] noted that ‘most of the significant advances in computer technology […] were simply extrapolations of Lick's vision’."

    Mitchell sums up his vision saying he “has seen a future in which computers will empower individuals, instead of forcing them into rigid conformity. He is almost alone in his conviction that computers can become not just superfast calculating machines, but joyful machines: tools that will serve as new media of expression, inspirations to creativity, and gateways to a vast world of online information."

    J. C. R. or "Lick"

    He graduated in physics, mathematics, and psychology, got a PhD in psychoacoustics (worked at the Psycho-Acoustic Laboratory at Harvard University, a world-famous specialist on pitch-perception, 1943-1950). He became an associate professor in information technology at MIT, where he got involved in the SAGE project, as head of the team concerned with human factors : "SAGE" (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) was a Cold War project to create a computer-aided air defense system ; computers collected and presented data to a human operator, who then chose the appropriate response. Indeed Licklider was a human factors expert. Later director of Project MAC at MIT, his team produced the first computer time-sharing system, CTSS. He also played a part in the invention of the computer mouse.

    J. C. R. or "Lick"

    [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ SAGE console ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]

    His most famous article, Man–Computer Symbiosis, insisted on the need for simpler interaction between computers and computer users. Unlike many AI (artificial intelligence) practitioners, Licklider never felt that men would be replaced by computer-based beings : "Men, he wrote, will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations. Computing machines will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking". His approach is sometimes called Intelligence amplification (IA).

    Sources : http://www.cs.rit.edu/~rpretc/imm/project1/biography.html


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